Hawaii holds a rare and completely unique place in the wedding industry. Most cities draw wedding events from couples that live there or grew up there. Hawaii is a major wedding destination for brides from all over the world. Thanks to its unique location, solid infrastructure and consistent, pleasant weather couples from Japan, China, South East Asia and North America flock to this tiny group of islands to get married.
We talked with Sasha Reichart of Cakelava to help us understand the special needs and trends that are important to wedding bakers in Hawaii.
Hawaiian Wedding Cakes - Cultural Crossroads
Any time you have a destination with a large number of ethnic groups, a wedding cake designer's job gets more complex. Each group brings their unique traditions and food preferences. Sasha points out that many of the weddings in Hawaii are with ethnically mixed couples - making cake design a balancing act that must honor different food backgrounds. "We are often asked to incorporate cultural elements into cakes," she points out.
Another facet that varies greatly is the size of the wedding guest list. Many Asian and Indian weddings often involve hundreds and hundreds of guests. Understanding the customs and traditions of different ethnic groups is key to success as a cake designer in Hawaii. For this reason, "packages" and cookie cutter designs don't get much interest. Every job is a custom job.
Hawaiian Wedding Cakes - The Perfect Weather for People, Not for Cake
Hawaiian weather is considered idyllic, and when you're lounging in a swimsuit with a pina colada it feels just right. But a typical June day in Honolulu is 87 degrees with high humidity, not exactly cake friendly.
Outdoor weddings are the norm in Hawaii and air conditioned tenting is an important requirement, especially for cake designers who want to keep their creations fresh. A common mistake is using clear tents. Clear tents can be beautiful at night, but when the wedding starts during the day guest can broil long before the sun goes down. This may require special cake shade in addition to an air conditioning to keep things from melting.
Hawaiian Wedding Cakes - A Special Place with Special Needs
We're all familiar with the Hawaiian lifestyle - the clothes, the food, the flowers, and the music. Couples who are going to marry in the islands often want a heavy dose of Hawaii in their wedding. They want a cake that matches their idea of Hawaii with indigenous flower designs and symbols that carry that theme.
Another interesting twist that Hawaiian wedding cake designers must negotiate is a 7 day a week event schedule. In most cities weddings are weekend affairs leaving the week days for shopping, baking, meeting, and creating new designs.
But a holiday destination frees wedding guest from the structure of work. Every day is wedding day, and bakers must re-orient their businesses to allow for the non-stop action.
Hawaiian Wedding Cakes - Advice for the Hawaiian Bride
"If you want to be married in Hawaii, book everything as far in advance as possible," Sasha suggests. There's really no such thing as too early. "We have many wedding cake orders a year or more ahead of the wedding date. It is such a popular destination for couples to marry that the best vendors just get snapped up."
Sasha also tells brides that when it comes to wedding cakes in Hawaii, the sky is the limit. "Don't let the island setting limit what you want for your wedding. People tend to want a traditional island theme, but we can mix that with elements that reflect your background or your life together. With the lead times we have we can order anything."
So, if you're from Quebec don't hesitate to incorporate Poutine into your wedding cake. If you're from New Orleans maybe a little Beignets in the mix?